Blog Post

Tweeting Live Academic Conferences: How and Why

Conference time is upon us once again.  We are seldom able to attend all the sessions on our list, but the practice of live academic tweeting could help share highlights of talks and the resources mentioned.

A recent article from SAGE Publication deals with the topic of academic tweeting. Sections of it are pasted below, for the full article, see the link.

How do you see twitter's role in Academic conferences? Have you ever done live academic tweeting? Why or why not? Share your thoughts with the group in the comments section.

By Camille Gamboa, PR Team, SAGE US

twitterWith a brand new year come new opportunities to dust up on our social media skills. In an effort to improve on some social media skills of my own, a few months ago I sat in on webinar setup by VOCUS called “Twitter Power in One Hour,” given by Mark Schaefer, author of The Tao of Twitter. One of the important skills he touched upon (which I suspect will become even bigger in 2013) is tweeting live from big events. Hoping to learn a little bit more about this topic myself, I’ve organized my notes from this webinar and added useful tips from some experienced live tweeters.  From the society members wanting to get word out about their annual meeting, to the authors publicizing their newest book launch, to the librarians who would like to update everyone on the latest happenings at their annual meetings, this post will give you some best practices for tweeting about a variety of scholarly events as they happen.

First of all, what is live tweeting?

Live tweeting is a way of engaging your twitter followers by sending minute-by-minute updates about an event as it occurs. Usually, it will cover a time span anywhere from 20 minutes long to a few hours. Live tweeters use the appropriate hashtag relevant to the event they are tweeting about (such as #alamw13 for the ALA Midwinter Meeting and #AERA13 for the AERA Annual Meeting), which can usually be found on the conference’s website or twitter profile. This hashtag will give followers context so that they automatically know what you are referring to when you tweet about the event. It will also make sure that tweets are part of the larger conversation of the event.

Why should I live tweet?

The twitter developers themselves have answered this question quite succinctly by pointing out that when celebrities live tweet at events, their mentions multiply significantly and their daily followers often double or even triple! While those of us who do not have paparazzi following us around may not have the same level of success, it is a good way to engage our followers and to develop your own unique and authentic twitter voice. And of course, there’s the fact that it’s easy to do (once you get the hang of it), it’s convenient (you can do it anywhere), it’s a free way to engage with your supporters, and… it’s fun!

Live tweeting can also help you as you network with others. By becoming a part of a larger conversation on twitter, you get to meet a variety of interesting people connected to your work and you have the opportunity to hear their own personal views before you’ve a met them face to face. Later when you do meet in person, you will immediately have some good things to talk about.

Best Practices

-          Before arriving at your event (preparation is key!)

  • Designate an official Tweeter –designate one person to do live tweeting as giving the responsibility to no one in particular is often the same as giving the responsibility to no one at all. Ernesto Priego, HASTAC scholar and co-founder of The Comics Grid, wrote an article for the Guardian Higher Education in which he pointed out that experienced social media users make the best live tweeters.
  • Do your homework – Mark Schaefer wrote that before attending a conference, you should do research on relevant links that you can shorten and link to in your tweets (such as the website for a company that the speaker represents) as well has the twitter handles (“@twittername”) of speakers and any other tweeters with whom you may want to engage.




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